A good pair of sneakers can take you far — literally. That’s why we’re always searching for the most comfortable and supportive options to carry you through runs, walks, casual outings and just about every activity in between. And we couldn’t help but notice one brand that has been making waves in the shoe industry and popping up everywhere from the gym to the office.
Hoka One One's chunky sneakers have been extremely popular in recent years, winding up on the feet of celebrities and seemingly everyone we come into contact with. And, as it turns out, they're not just a hip shoe to show off around town — they're a favorite of podiatrists, too. So we consulted two top experts to get all the details on what makes the shoes such a good pick.
Here's everything you need to know about the trendy sneaker, plus the trending and expert-loved styles to shop — including some that are on sale.
What is Hoka One One?
Hoka One One (pronounced ho-kah oh-nay oh-nay) was founded in 2009 by two trail-running enthusiasts, Nicolas Mermoud and Jean-Luc Diard. While the ultra-cushioned shoes were originally designed with runners in mind, they now have options to suit almost any activity, from hiking to training.
Are Hoka shoes good for your feet?
They're not just great for workouts. Dr. Jacqueline Sutera, a New York City-based podiatrist says that they provide comfort, support and shock absorption, which makes them a good choice for frequent walkers or anyone whose job requires them to stand for the majority of the day. "I personally own Hoka sneakers and do also recommend them to patients often," she says.
Dr. Miguel Cunha, podiatrist and founder of Gotham Footcare, said that Hoka One One is one of his favorite sneaker brands and added that he also frequently recommends the shoes to patients — especially those with wide feet. When compared to other popular sneakers, Hoka's shoes have a wider toe box, which allows for a more comfortable fit for those with a broader forefoot and can minimize the risk of developing uncomfortable conditions, like bunions or ingrown toenails, he adds.
"The Hoka One One sneaker also has superior cushioning with a specially engineered EVA foam that is soft and surprisingly lightweight," Cunha says. Meaning that you'll feel the comfort with each step that you take.
Plus, many of the brand's most popular pairs come in plenty of fun colors and patterns, as well as solid neutrals that will go with anything in your closet.
Best Hoka One One women's running shoes
According to the Hoka, the “ultra-cushioned” Bondi 8 sneaker is “one of the hardest working shoes in the HOKA lineup.” It features lighter foam and an updated heel geometry to provide a softer and more balanced step. The company says that the shoes are ideal for both everyday walking and running. They also feature a breathable mesh upper and a soft memory foam collar, which is said to provide cushioning for your Achilles and prevent blisters from forming.
The previous iteration of the Bondi shoe, the Bondi 7, also came recommended by Sutera. “I love that it has a wide, thick footbed for stability and maximum cushion for comfort.”
Hoka's Clifton 9 sneaker is said to have more cushioning than ever before, that doesn't mean that it's heavier — it's actually four grams lighter than the previous model, the brand says. It's also said to feature a responsive new foam and improved outsole design for superior comfort and fit. It comes in 11 different colors, ranging from bright blue to neutral Eggnog (though sizes of the latter shade are already selling out).
"The Clifton is not only one of our most popular products," Colin Ingram, Vice President of Product at HOKA said in a press release. "It's a gateway to make running more enjoyable and accessible. We think longtime fans and newcomers to the sport will find that balanced, smooth ride so characteristic of a Clifton, but be surprised by how light and responsive our newest version is."
Commerce photo editor Vivian Le is a fan of Hoka's Clifton sneakers. "It’s my second pair of the Cliftons and they feel like clouds on my feet. I have a pair for everyday walking and a pair for running/training!"
A previous model of the shoe, the Clifton 7, was also listed as an excellent choice for runners who are looking for a softer and lighter shoe, according to Cunha. "They are designed with a plush collar that reduces pressure placed on the back of the foot, providing increased comfort and support," he says.
The Hoka Mach X takes the comfort and support that its beloved Mach sneaker is known for and adds an extra midsole plate to propel you forward on your runs. The brand sent me a pair to try and I was impressed by their cushioning and support. While I love one of the brand's other new running shoes, the Rocket X 2 (more on that later) for longer runs, they are a bit too technical for everyday jogs and walks. These feel a bit lighter, so they're perfect for those shorter activities and general everyday use. Plus, I love the pastel color!
With resilient foam that's designed to provide high-rebound cushioning and a foot-hugging mesh upper, this release from Hoka is made with runners in mind. The brand sent three members of the Shop TODAY team the sneakers and we got to try them out for a recent five-mile run. Here's what we thought:
Personally, I loved how cushioned and springy these shoes felt. While training for my first half marathon earlier this year, I was in desperate need of a new shoe, so these came at the perfect time. (Over the course of nearly two years, I've logged hundreds of miles on my current pair of Hokas, so I was past due for an upgrade.) I immediately noticed that these sneakers felt taller than my other pair — which takes a second to get used to — but also that they were much bouncier, which I really appreciated. They feature a spoon-shaped offset carbon fiber plate with a lifted toe that helps propel you forward as you stride, so you really feel like you're getting more from every step. Overall, they're great for long-distance running and racing, but I would stick to one of the brand's other sneakers if you're looking for a walking or jogging shoe.
"This was the first time I ever put on sneakers and understood what people meant when they said they felt like they were walking on clouds," Shop TODAY Senior Social Media Editor Kate McCarthy says. "The Hokas are super bouncy and soft, but after years of running in shoes that have less bounce, it was a tough adjustment for me. The height of the foam on the sneaker made me feel like I was wearing platforms, and I was a bit weary of taking turns on runs too hard because I felt like I was going to twist an ankle."
SEO editorial assistant Sierra Hoeger, who owns Hoka's Rincon 3s, says that she immediately felt a difference in the bounce of the shoe. "I was a little hesitant to run with added height, however, the cushiony-feel and the extra spring in my step seemed to help propel me forward rather than make me feel like I was going to lose balance. These shoes are a great find for those who want to feel more cushion when they run, rather than feel like you're dragging your feet."
The brand previously sent me a pair of the Kawana sneaker to try nearly three years ago, and they've been one of my go-to sneakers since. I found it to be a versatile pick that's perfect for both indoor and outdoor running and everyday wear, thanks to its foam material that is designed to provide a high level of support and responsiveness with every step.
Before trying Hokas for the first time, I had heard multiple friends and family members of all activity levels — from repeat marathon runners to occasional walkers — rave about how comfortable the brand's sneakers were, so I couldn't wait to try them on.
Considering that the shoes are pretty bulky (they really are the ultimate dad shoes), the first time that I put them on, I was shocked by how lightweight they felt. While the ultra-chunky bottoms may not make them feel like the most fashionable choice, they do add some serious comfort. The Kawana sneakers have a thick cushioned foam bottom and a meta-rocker design, which is designed to make every step feel soft, smooth and bouncy, according to the brand.
And they're not just for running, I've worn them for walks, HIIT workouts and even a couple of games of tennis, and found that they're a comfortable choice for nearly any activity.
Hoeger says that these bestselling sneakers from the brand were one of her favorite things that she bought last year. "[I] had heard great things about Hokas from co-workers, friends and family members who have tried them and loved them," she says. "When trying them on for the first time, I was immediately impressed with the cushiony sole and how supportive, yet lightweight they are. I opted for a pair with a little less of a platform and have loved running in them since."
With a stacked, dual-layer midsole and a meta rocker, Hoka's popular Mach 5 shoe is said to provide all the support and cushion you want, without anything extra. It comes in regular and wide sizes, and like most of Hoka's options, it's available in a range of eye-catching colors and patterns.
Another bestseller from the brand, the Arahi 6 sneakers are said to be lightweight, stable and supportive. "I am not a sneaker person. I don't run. But I like comfy, supportive shoes... and I go on walks... and I want to look cute... these hit all the boxes," one reviewer wrote. "I've never put a pair of shoes on that fit the shape of my foot so perfectly ... I don't know how they do it, but these shoes fit my feet perfectly. And the first time I put them on they made me feel like I wanted to go on a run (I am NOT a runner). Absolutely insane. I want to try every Hoka there is and I will recommend these shoes to every single person I meet."
Designed to be "commuter-friendly," these bestselling sneakers will help you take on whatever the day brings, from the walk to the grocery store to the sprint to catch your train. The walking shoes feature quick-toggle laces for easy on and off when you're in a rush (though it comes with traditional laces that you can swap in) and a cushioned EVA midsole.
Whether you're a casual hiker or an avid trail runner, you're bound to appreciate these bestselling shoes from the brand. The Speedgoat 5 sneakers are designed to help you take on any terrain with their grippy sole, protective toe cap and a lightweight feel.
Best Hoka One One recovery shoes
Give your feet a much-needed break with these recovery slides! The 2023 Start TODAY x Shop TODAY Wellness Award-winning slides are designed to provide comfort and cushioning for your feet during downtime.
"Whenever I wear another sandal or slide it’s a noticeable difference in support, especially in the arch," one of our testers shared. "My partner attempted to use them several times even though they’re too small for him just because they’re so comfortable. I’d absolutely buy another pair!”
How to clean Hoka sneakers
To keep your Hokas looking their best, the brand recommends skipping the washing machine and dryer, as they can age the sneakers. Instead, they suggest hand washing them with cold water and a mild soap or laundry detergent.
To start, the brand recommends taking out the liners, insoles and laces (you can throw the laces in the washing machine with the rest of your laundry). Then, use a dry paper towel and a dry toothbrush to get any mud or dirt off the outside of the shoes. To get off more caked-in dirt and stains, use the toothbrush to scrub them with a mix of soap (according to the brand, you can use dye-free detergent, dish soap or dandruff shampoo) and cool water.
Wipe all remaining soap off with a damp rag, then take a dry cloth and blot them so they're not soaking wet. To dry, stuff them with newspaper and leave them in a cool spot overnight. The brand says that you should avoid putting them in direct sunlight or near a heat source, as it can warp them.
If you have another type of shoe from the brand, like a leather sneaker or recovery sandals, you can find more specific instructions on how to clean them on the Hoka site.
How we chose the best Hoka sneakers
The Shop TODAY editors and writers search the internet to find the best products out there. We interview expert sources and use our own personal experiences with the product and brand to make shopping easier for our readers.
As an editorial team, we independently create content and determine coverage based on research, reporting and what we think TODAY.com readers would like to read about. The goal of our content is to provide a service and inform readers who are on the hunt for the latest products to help make their life better. Items are sold by retailer, not TODAY. Pricing and availability are accurate as of publish time. Learn more about Shop TODAY.
Meet our experts
Dr. Jacqueline Sutera, DPM, is a board-certified podiatrist at City Podiatry in New York City. She specializes in women’s foot care.
Dr. Miguel Cunha, DPM, is a podiatrist and founder of Gotham Footcare in New York City. His interests include all areas of podiatric medicine with an emphasis on cosmetic surgery and sports medicine injuries.